Rutgers Bubble Watch 2020: three games left in regular season with must win road games

Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers Scarlet Knights. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

With three games left to their 2019-20 regular season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights find themselves in must-win situations to achieve their final goal.

There are three games left in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights great season. Here at the end of the line, these are in must-win situations. The remaining three games are all with teams that are already on their way to the NCAA 2020 tournament. Two of the three games are on the road, an area where the Knights have struggled this season.

The Knights one last home game is against the No. 7 seeded Maryland Terrapins. Maryland stands at the top of the Big Ten in the “Lock” category per the ESPN tournament Bubble Watch with Rutgers as a “Should Be In.” The Terps have a nine-game win streak as of February 21. The Scarlet Knights have already lost to the Terps 56-51 this season.

In the first of the two road games, they travel to University Park, PA to meet the No. 9 Penn State University Nittany Lions. Penn State is another team in the Big Ten’s Lock category. In Rutgers previous meeting with Penn State, they defeated the Nittany Lions, 72-61 at the RAC.

For RU’s last game of the season, before the Big Ten tournament, the Scarlet Knights play the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers are in the “Work To Do” group of ESPN’s  Bubble Watch. Of all Rutgers remaining games, this should be the easiest, but I coach Steve Pikiell can’t leave anything to chance.

If Rutgers does the remarkable and wins each of their last three games I wouldn’t say they were in the Lock category but I would say they “really should be in”. That would give them four road wins, with an overall 22-9 record, a conference record 13-7,  a home stat of 18-1 and a better 4-6 away stat. Doing well in the Big Ten tournament would also go a long way.

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  • As of 2/21, Rutgers is not on the AP Top 25 nor the CBS Sports Top 25.
  • RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) Ranking is No. 52 (RPI is one of the tools used by the Selection Committee)
  • NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) Ranking is No. 34 (NET is also one of the tools used by the Selection Committee)
  • Team Leaders: Points – Ron Harper Jr. (12.2), Rebounds – Myles Johnson (7.9), Assists – Geo Baker (3.6).

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have not been to the NCAA tournament since 1991. This could be the year. It is my opinion that if they succeed in obtaining one of the 68 slots, they will indeed make the most of it.

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The Scarlet Knights travel to Penn State on February 26.